This chapter sets out the key argument contained in this book, namely that the CCP has utilised Chinese historical memory to stimulate popular nationalism in an effort to bolster its waning legitimacy. However, this has backfired with an increasing number of people in China challenging the party’s claim to be the sole defender of Chinese national interests, the party that purports to have liberated China from imperialist subjugation in 1949 and has put China back on the international map. The chapter introduces the key historical events used by the party to whip up a nationalist support base and examines the methods employed to do so. We note some of the key criticisms levelled against the CCP (to be expanded upon in later chapters) and identify the social categories of people in China who are making these criticisms. We also examine the wider concept of nationalism, and within this, the concept of Chinese nationalism.
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